CD Speak: Is There Room For A Toyota Vitz In India?

Modified On Feb 04, 2023 10:26 AM By Sonny

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It is the rebadged version of the Maruti Suzuki Celerio intended for South Africa as Toyota’s entry-level offering

Toyota Vitz at South Africa

The Toyota lineup in India has not had a high-selling entry-level hatchback. Since the discontinuation of the Etios Liva, the brand brought in a rebadged version of the Maruti Baleno premium hatchback as its entry-level model as the Glanza. Now in its second iteration starting at Rs 6.59 lakh (ex-showroom), the Japanese brand of the masses could benefit from something smaller and more affordable in its lineup for India, like the recently debuted Vitz for the South African market.

What is the Toyota Vitz?

Toyota Vitz 2017

The Vitz moniker has been part of the Toyota global lineup for over two decades, always representing a compact hatchback. It was the name usually reserved for the Japanese car market while sold as the Yaris in most other markets. Depending on the market, it would be a three-door or a five-door offering. 

How did Celerio become Vitz?

Toyota Vitz South Africa

Toyota and Suzuki are global partners for sharing their lineup across markets, sharing in each other’s strengths to make up for their weaknesses. Toyota is benefitting from Suzuki’s expertise in compact and affordable models outside of the East Asian markets, like the Celerio. For the South African market, Toyota needed a replacement for the Aygo and it seems the latest generation of the little Suzuki hatchback was the right model to get cross-badged.

Related: Suzuki To Supply Toyota Africa With Made In India Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ciaz, Ertiga

Does Toyota need a compact hatchback in India?

It is no secret that competing against the might of Maruti Suzuki in India’s small car market is a tall ask. Toyota could have an easier time by offering the rebadged Celerio in India as well, priced from around Rs 5.5 lakh (ex-showroom). The Celerio in its current avatar would still be representative of Toyota’s brand image and would likely be offered with a more attractive aftersales package than the Maruti car.

Toyota Glanza
Maruti Celerio

If you’re thinking that the Celerio isn’t that popular of a model, unlike other Toyota models shared with Maruti Suzuki in India, let’s talk about some rough numbers. The Glanza’s average monthly sales were approximately 20 percent of the monthly sales of the Baleno during the same six month period at around 18,450 units. While the Celerio is nowhere near as popular as the Baleno, it still falls into a good volume segment with an average of over 4,000 units a month.

Assuming Toyota could sell a similar proportion of re-badged Celerios per month, that would still be beneficial for the carmaker.  

Toyota Vitz/Celerio engine and features

Maruti Celerio interior

The latest generation of the Maruti Celerio comes with a 1-litre petrol engine making 67PS and 89Nm, and idle start-stop tech for improved fuel economies. It gets the choice of five-speed manual and AMT transmissions. The hatchback’s feature list includes a touchscreen infotainment system, push-button start-stop, manual AC, powered ORVMs, and 15-inch alloy wheels. As seen with other shared products, the Toyota-badged version will offer the same powertrains and features.

Would you like to see Toyota offer a rebadged version of the Celerio in India? Let us know in the comment section below.

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